The 2019 coronavirus disease or Covid-19 has affected in many ways the lives of people around the world, including members of the Church Of Christ. “The fact that the pandemic is spreading at an alarming rate with no known cure makes us all restless and terrified. That may be more than enough to preoccupy our minds,” said Sister Desiree Acenas, a Buklod officer in the Local Congregation of Wahiawa, Ecclesiastical District of Hawaii-Pacific.
With millions afflicted and with fatalities now reaching hundreds of thousands, parents worry for the safety of their household.
“The current pandemic brings fear, stress, and anxiety to many people as the virus is rapidly spreading. As parents, we want ourselves and our children to be safe from the disease,” said Brother Ron David Valencia, a head deacon in the Local Congregation of Markham, Ecclesiastical District of Greater Toronto, Canada.
“It does bring anxiety. I am especially worried for my children who are living miles away from me,” said Sister Rachel Quiambao, head secretary of the Local Congregation of Glendale, Ecclesiastical District of Los Angeles County, California.
Children also worry for their parents, especially those who work as frontliners in battling the disease. “My mom works [as a nurse] in a hospital and she is in high risk to contracting the virus,” said Sister Jeaneen Alyza Ching, a choir member, Children’s Worship Service officer, and KADIWA president in the Local Congregation of Houston, Ecclesiastical District of Texas. “I am afraid and I worry for my mom.”
Another thing that people are worried about is their source of income. Due to the pandemic and the safety protocols implemented by governments, establishments were forced to temporarily stop operating and many have even closed down. As a result, many people could not go to work, or lost their jobs entirely. Some may not have been dismissed from their jobs, but they do not have any income because of the “no work, no pay” policy.
Concerned about the future, Sister Airry Rose Ann Soriano said, “My family and I are worried. I ask myself the question: ‘How can I continue studying if I cannot continue working?’ This is because I also work to help my parents pay for my studies as they work to pay for our daily expenses. But we all lost our stable jobs because of the pandemic.”
It is normal for people to feel troubled during these times. Even Church Of Christ members feel the same. However, they are fully aware that facing such things is inevitable in this world.
“As members of the Church Of Christ, we know that we will face troubles and worries in life. But what makes us different is that we know that we have our Almighty God Whom we can always turn to. We firmly believe, as Church members, that He is always with us and will not abandon us in trying times,” Sister Rachel said.
Church members were once again reminded by the Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, in a worship service he officiated, that great troubles will come to all people, even to the righteous or to the ones who were redeemed and made righteous by Christ through His blood—the members of the Church Of Christ. The preaching was streamed live to various sites in North and South America on May 24, 2020. In his Bible-based preaching, the Executive Minister taught the Church members that they should earnestly continue in their services and in praying to God amid troubles.
Following quarantine measures for their own safety, Church members conducted their worship services at home. “The worship service is important to us members in dealing with life’s problems, for it helps and strengthens us spiritually. The lessons help in guiding us towards the right path in life, so that we may continue to remain in the Church Of Christ and fight for our faith. We are taught to trust in our Almighty God and believe in His words,” said Sister Jeaneen, a choir member, Children’s Worship Service officer, and the KADIWA vice president of the Local Congregation of Houston, Ecclesiastical District of Texas.
Receiving the words of God and praying to Him in the worship service, the Church members find encouragement and peace of mind.
“The worship service is where we experience peace, even amid all the problems happening around us. It gives us renewed strength of faith to be able to face whatever that may come our way. When we call on God to bring to Him all our thoughts, worries, and anxieties, we know that He listens to our prayers and gives us the peace of mind to be able to continue on,” said Sister Rachel, who is the head secretary in the Local Congregation of Glendale, Ecclesiastical District of Los Angeles County, California.
Church members also continue to conduct their prayers at home, putting their complete trust in God. Together with his family, Brother Ron firmly holds on to what God can do for them.
“We, as members of the Church Of Christ, have the protection and safekeeping of our Almighty God which gives us hope and inspiration to uphold our faith during these trying times. When we encounter difficulties, the first thing we do is pray,” he said.
Likewise, Sister Desiree said, “In the worship service led by the Executive Minister, he emphasized that doubt is the enemy of faith. I will not doubt, but I will pray earnestly and fully place my trust in God. As human beings we are prone to self-doubt or mistakes, and we are always wary of things that make it really hard for us to trust anyone. God is our only hope. Truly believing that He will hear our prayers will give us the comfort that we need.”
God’s servants who continue to earnestly obey His commandments and pray to Him will surely not be disappointed. Sister Airry, a choir member and local congregation secretary in the Local Congregation of Villa Grecia, Panama, Ecclesiastical District of Latin America, said, “If God sees that we are running out of strength, He will make us stronger. If we ask Him from the heart, with faith and works, without a doubt, our Father will bless us with what we need. God has blessed me with a job that I can do at home, enough to meet the needs of our day-to-day lives and, most importantly, we are able to continue to set aside our offerings for Him, which is also our obligation to Him.”
Whatever may happen in this world, true Christians and their families, will never cease to fulfill their obligations to God, for they understand that these are their priorities in life. With firm faith, Brother Ron said, “No matter what happens in our life, we will continue our services to our Almighty God. Our parents taught us at an early age that our duties in the Church are the most important and we pass this on to our young children.”